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Bolts face Globalport; Ginebra tackles TNT

KIA Carnival's Hans Thieli looses the ball against Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter as teammates Mark Yee and Kyle Pascual looks on.   Photo by Tony Pionilla

Games Today (Mall of Asia Arena)
3 p.m. – Globalport vs Meralco
5:15 p.m. – Barangay Ginebra vs Talk ‘N Text

The Meralco Bolts stake their 4-0 slate today when they take on the Globalport Batang Pier in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Gametime is at 3 p.m. followed by the featured offering pitting Barangay Ginebra San Miguel against Talk ‘N Text at 5:15 p.m.

The Bolts, who turned back Rain or Shine, 92-87, last Tuesday, and the defending champion Purefoods Star Hotshots share leadership as the only unbeaten teams in the league, while the Batang Pier are coming off a rousing 95-73 rout of Philippine Cup finalist Alaska which was without key players Sonny Thoss, Jvee Casio, Vic Manuel and Calvin Abueva.

Globalport is tied with Barangay Ginebra at fifth spot with 2-2 win-loss cards.

The Kings got a big scare from Kia Motors and 7-foot-4 center PJ Ramos two days ago before prevailing, 100-92, for their first back-to-back wins, while the Tropang Texters were pushed to the limit by erstwhile undefeated Barako Bull before pulling off an 80-74 victory and tying the Energy at third place, 3-1, just behind the co-leaders.

As important as the games are this afternoon, action could take a backseat, however, to a press conference at halftime of the Meralco-Globalport game where PBA commissioner Chito Salud will reportedly announce his resignation at the end of the 40th season in July.

PBA Commissioner Chito Salud.   Photo by Tony Pionilla

Salud, the eldest son of former PBA commissioner Rudy Salud, has been rumoured to be entertaining thoughts of stepping down in 2016 and so caught people by surprise when he started bidding farewell to the league’s team owners a week ago.

Last Friday, Salud summoned his staff to the PBA office’s boardroom in Libis, Quezon City and there broke the news of his impending departure.

No reasons have yet been given for his decision and whether his looming resignation is a spur of the moment thing or the result of some outside pressure. Whichever, a source said Salud is standing pat on his exit and is not likely to be swayed into staying on.

An eventual career in public service is an option for Salud although he has shown little indication in the past of his intention to veer towards that path. Neither has there been health concerns and he enjoys tremendous support from the league’s team owners, especially San Miguel ‘s Ramon S. Ang and Talk ‘N Text’s Manny V. Pangilinan.

While the PBA Board of Governors is still far from forming a search committee to find a suitable replacement should Salud decline a term extension, several names have cropped up as potential candidates, including former ABC-5 head Bobby Barreiro, BCAP president Chito Narvasa, former Sta. Lucia Realty team manager Ariel Magno and PBA TV commentator Charlie Cuna.

The PBA also has within its confines operations chief Ricky Santos and media bureau director Willie Marcial.

Salud took over from longtime PBA executive Sonny Barrios in 2010 and continued the league’s steady progress which culminated into back-to-back record-smashing seasons in 2013 and 2014.

Meanwhile, the Petron Blaze Saturday Special between Purefoods Star and Rain or Shine at the Dipolog Sports Center was still ongoing at presstime.